Posted April 16, 2008
The Roger Sturtevant Award
Equity Membership Candidates Chelsea Cree Groen, Ricardo Rust Win 2008 Roger Sturtevant Award
Applications are available online through March 15, 2009 for the 2008-2009 Roger Sturtevant Musical Theatre Award administered by the Actors' Equity Foundation. Read more...
Actors' Equity is pleased to announce that Chelsea Cree Groen and Ricardo Rust are the winners of the fourth annual 2008 Roger Sturtevant Musical Theatre Awards, named for the beloved casting director who passed away in 2003. The award is given to Equity Membership Candidates (EMCs) who have demonstrated outstanding abilities in the field of musical theatre. The award consists of a certificate accompanied by a $1000 check.
Equity President Mark Zimmerman noted: "Chelsea and Ricardo are very talented young people who came to us highly recommended by their teachers and directors. Their auditions were remarkable and demonstrated their fervor for performing. The decision to award them was not lightly reached but they stood out in a field of incredibly gifted applicants. They will surely be very successful in their chosen craft."
Sturtevant Award winner Chelsea Cree Groen with her Mother Stacia Groen
Chelsea Cree Groen was born in San Diego, California and moved to her current hometown of Phoenix, AZ when she was 5 years old. She has been acting ever since she could talk, and always pretended and put on shows for her family. "But my first real production was HANSEL AND GRETEL when I was five at Greasepaint Youth Theatre in Scottsdale, Arizona."
In 2003, Chelsea won the First Annual Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical Youth "Billie" Award from San Diego Playbill for her portrayal of the title role in the Starlight Musical Theatre Production of ANNIE. This past fall, Chelsea joined the EMC program working on CRAZY FOR YOU at Phoenix Theatre in Arizona and "looks forward to accumulating enough points to join AEA after I graduate college." Chelsea heard about the EMC program through her theater friends and was very excited when she received the news that she was one of this year's Sturtevant Award winners. "I was completely overwhelmed and quite frankly in shock! I could not believe that I won this esteemed award out of all the other talented performers that applied. I was at school when I received the call and I immediately called my mom, crying hysterically to tell her the amazing news. I felt so honored and excited to share the wonderful news with my family. I am so grateful to have been chosen as the winner of the Roger Sturtevant Award. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this happening. Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity.
Ricardo Rust was born in Pretoria, South Africa, where he spent the majority of his childhood. In the middle of his 7th Grade, his father accepted a job transfer to Chicago, Illinois. Ricardo remembers, "In addition to the overall ecstatic feel, new concepts introduced themselves, not only a complete culture change, also a completely new language." He heard about the EMC program when he was in college and went on his first Broadway touring audition for THE LION KING. He joined the program in March of 2007, "I figured if I really wanted to have structure in my life, I had to start by taking charge at living and breathing my true profession."
Ricardo has a BFA in Music Theater from New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. Past performances include THRILL ME (New Conservatory Theater Center) JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (Willows Theatre) and SWEENEY TODD (Studio 59). Ricardo thanks Equity for this tremendous honor. "I don't think I actually believed Anne when we spoke on the phone. Not a single thing played in my favor the day before the application due date. I had convinced myself that I missed the deadline or wrote down the wrong address, I completely forgot I even applied. Off course, after Anne repeatedly told me, I couldn't stop giggling. I was beaming."
Roger Sturtevant began a show business career as box office treasurer (and sometimes as casting director) for summer theaters in the northeast, including the New London Barn Playhouse in New Hampshire and the Pocono Playhouse in Mountainhome, PA. On Broadway he served as assistant treasurer in several theater box offices, including the Winter Garden during the original run of Follies, his favorite musical. After his passing, Roger's family contacted Equity's Foundation to set up the award. Jane Sturtevant Johnson notes, "Inspired by the many expressions of gratitude and heartfelt appreciation, we are proud and happy to announce the establishment of an award in Roger's name to be given to talented new actors and actresses in the musical theatre."
The panel of judges consisted of: Equity President Mark Zimmerman, Third VP Ira Mont, Principal Councillor Judy Rice, casting directors Stuart Howard, Pat McCorkle, and Arnold Mungioli; and Sturtevant family members Jane and Cliff Johnson.
Arizona Theatre Service
Roger Sturtevant began a show business career as box office treasurer (and sometimes as casting director) for summer theaters in the northeast, including the New London Barn Playhouse in New Hampshire and the Pocono Playhouse in Mountainhome, PA. On Broadway he served as assistant treasurer in several theater box offices, including the Winter Garden during the original run of Follies, his favorite musical. After his passing, Roger’s family contacted Equity’s Foundation to set up the award. Jane Sturtevant Johnson notes, “Inspired by the many expressions of gratitude and heartfelt appreciation, we are proud and happy to announce the establishment of an award in Roger’s name to be given to talented new actors and actresses in the musical theatre.”
The award was established in 2005 and is supported by donations from Roger's friends and family.